Euro starter kits will be available in Palma today from a mobile Sa Nostra distribution unit in plaza de los Patines in Palma, and all of the region's banks will stock the euro kits from Monday. The euro starter kits include the equivalent of 2'000 pesetas in 43 euro coins and for those eager to get to grips with the new single currency, 12 virtual stores, selling Balearic produce, will be open at the main euro tent in plaza del Bisbe Berenguer de Palou for euro trading. The euro does not enter mass circulation until January 1, but “starter kits” are being sold in all 12 euro countries to help the public prepare for the dawn of a new monetary era. Around 52 billion new euro coins will become the new loose change from Helsinki to Athens by the time all old national currencies are scrapped by March, trickling into piggy banks, trouser pockets, handbags and wallets across Europe. Around 14.9 billion crisp new euro bank notes are being printed but will not be available to the public before New Year's Day. Opening the euro tents in Palma, Balearic Minister for Finance, Joan Mesquida, said he believes that the Peseta will disappear long before the March 1 deadline once the euro comes in to full circulation. The Minister is convinced that the arrival of the euro will benefit the Balearics, in particular industry and tourism and will allow the Balearic economic to fall in line with all the other EU member states. He did admit however that the commercial sector is braced for a sharp rise in credit card use during the first few months of next year with consumers taking the easy option. Balearic banks are already in possession of 35'000 million pesetas worth of euros - 210 million euros - and all the financial institutions believe that the figure is sufficient to meet the demand from consumers and businesses. The Balearics have a total of 800'000 euro starter kits for sale at 2'000 pesetas, 12.02 euros, and for many today will be their first experience of the handling the new currency.


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